Mark your calendar, folks: Microsoft says it will deliver the final version of Windows 10 to 190 countries sometime between June 21 and September 23, 2015. Well, they weren’t that specific, they only claimed “this summer.” And the firm also didn’t explain which versions of Windows 10 would be ready by this time period. Is that just the PC versions or also the versions for embedded devices, phones and small tablets, and other devices?
While many are eagerly awaiting a “hero or goat” moment this summer as the clock winds down, I suspect more of a gray area, with a soft launch on certain devices only—most likely PCs and big tablets first—followed by staged releases for other form factors. As important, I think Windows 10 is something that will evolve over time and that like some previous releases—such as Windows Server 2008, with Hyper-V—some features will ship in beta or unfinished form originally.
Regardless of Microsoft’s ability to hit this completely arbitrary schedule, the company made a series of related announcements at WinHEC today in China. These include:
Even software pirates will get Windows 10 for free. It’s Oprah: “You’re getting free Windows 10! And you’re getting free Windows 10!” It’s free. For everyone. Including pirates. “We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” Microsoft’s Terry Myerson said. See? They really are serious about moving the PC world forward. UPDATE: Or not.
Windows for small footprint IoT devices will be available for free when Windows 10 launches. Windows 10 will offer versions of Windows for a diverse set of IoT devices, ranging from powerful devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines, to resource constrained devices like gateways. Microsoft is partnering with companies such as the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel, Qualcomm and others.
The Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C is the first Windows 10 developer board with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and a smartphone-class Snapdragon 410 chipset.
More SOC support. Windows 10 supports many new system on a chip designs, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Snapdragon 808, Snapdragon 615, Snapdragon 210 and Snapdragon 208 on phones and the Atom x3, Atom “Cherry Trail”, AMD Carrizo and Carrizo-L and more.
Minimum hardware. More on this later today, but the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10 include 512 MB (phones) or 1 GB (tablets, PCs) of RAM and 4 GB (phones) or 16 GB (tablets, PCs) of storage. It supports screens from 3.99 inches and up.
Lenovo will offer Windows 10 upgrade services at 2,500 service centers and select retail stores in China when the Windows 10 upgrade is available in order to help customers quickly and easily upgrade their new or existing Windows devices to Windows 10.
Lenovo will build Windows phones, to be available in mid-year 2015 via China Mobile.
Tencent, the leading social networking and gaming services company in China, announced it will offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade to its customers on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in China.
Qihu 360, a leading internet security company in China, announced it will bring Windows 10 for free to their customers in China. Qihu 360 has over 500 million customers on Windows PCs.
Xiaomi, one of the top smartphone distributors in the world, will invite “a select group of Xiaomi Mi 4 power users” to help test Windows 10 and contribute to its future release later this year. That’s an Android device, by the way. Which means … hm. This could be very interesting. Converting Android phones to Windows Phone? I likee.